Conquest of the Horde

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((This has been a topic on my vent for the past week or so, it seems as if an increasingly large number of people have been meta-gaming there way into and out of RP situations. Tonight, after witnessing it myself for the fifth time this week, I have decided to write a little guide or FAQ about it, and how it dramatically can ruin an RP situation for everyone but the meta-gamer. I know it is shoddy, but I am half asleep. Advice is welcome, please add your own information about meta-gaming in comments below.))

Meta-gaming, as define by, is "...the use of out-of-character knowledge in an in-character situation." This may be applied to using out of character knowledge of class, race, gender, sexual orientation, location of players, guild(for those who do not wear known tabards), weaknesses, names or lore. Thoroughly prodding characters because you know this information OOCly is also a form of meta-gaming.

I will spend a few moments on how each one of these can be meta-gamed and how it can and will change the RP situation.

Many people in a role-playing community such as ours do not have or use their class chosen. This is either because they are a common villager/towns person or someone who possibly has slight knowledge of the field, (I have seen many people have the class titled Mage because they have studied the arcane art-form but never practiced or used it.) Using a class from an out of character stand-point can make a class normally shunned from a society (IE. Warlocks or rogues, two classes which tend to hide their class affiliations, or even Death Knights, some of which are still in hiding.) quickly out-casted and kicked from cities. Remember, speculations of using the Dark arts in Alliance and most Horde cities is seen as highly offensive.

There are characters who like to stay hidden in many role-play communities; the ones that think the less you know, the better for them. Taking in OOC information about their race can ruin RP-stories, situations and histories. One person shouting to the world that "Bob" is indeed a tiny Night-elf and not a human can make people treat him differently than before.

I have seen plenty of people play females pretending to be male, going as far as to wear loosely-fitting clothing or armor, changing their tone of voice, or even growing facial hair. (Crazy I know right?) All of things though, can and will fool your character. Yes, you may know that Joe is really Joanne OOCly, but would your character really spend a half hour inspecting her and asking her personal questions? I think not.

Knowing a private matter, such as this, in a roleplay where you shouldn't/wouldn't know can not only make the people involved uncomfortable, but the community uncomfortable. This is a matter that should be dealt with in private, if dealt with at all.

Location of Players
Out-of-characterly knowing where a character, friend or foe, is, is fine and dandy. But when you take the step over to metagaming, to move to a location where your character would normally never be seen just for the chance of seeing them can ruin RP. Many a times, people's characters are in hiding and the fact that you somehow magically found out in a dream (in other words, no legit reasoning) where they were hiding out, can and will ruin story-lines, along with killing characters before their times.

This includes knowing magically where dead bodies are located. If you have no reason to be in a place and magically know where their bodies are, then you shouldn't be rezzing them.

"Melony was slaughtered on the road between Darkshire and Stranglethorn Vale. Marcus walked that road daily, bringing supplies between the two. One day, he saw her barely breathing body on the ground, he held on to her until she died. He quickly carried her back to the city of Darkshire and a local Priest began the long grueling process of rezzing her. She spent over two months re-learning to walk and function properly."
"After being slaughtered, the murders took Melony's body far into the forests of Duskwood. Marcus, for some reason decided to go into the forests, totally out of routine. After rezzing her himself (he was after-all learning to become an apprentice) she told him of her killers, and walked with him into Darkshire."

I bet you can figure out why it is wrong.

Guilds, more than half the time they are used as OOC notes such as, "Tinker" "Hand for Hire" "Fallen Angel" (Yes, I have indeed seen that.). The other half is for legit guilds, people who come together for a common cause, good or evil alike, in order to easily know each other, pass along information or items for the guild. Many times ICly characters may be in a guild but slim-to-none will know they are associated with it(I have seen plenty guilds whose leader is ICly not known or where certain members aren't known by anyone but the leader), so using this information that they are part of it makes for awkward moments, and long OOC discussions about how they would ICly know. ("Well, I was told by so and so that you were in it!" 'Uh...I joined after they left...' You get what I mean?)

Weaknesses, we all have them, every single one of us does; whether it is having a sweet tooth, being allergic to cats, or not being able to handle hot temperatures, realistically all characters and peoples have them. Finding out from an OOC perspective that someone is a frost-mage and cannot withstand hot temperatures(and vice versa), and you intentionally make this character overly-hot in order to make them weak, is meta-gaming. Remember kids, unless someone is screaming that they are allergic to cats(or the like) you probably won't know these things ICly.

We all have a name, this is normal in most if not all societies. Many of us also hold nick-names, whether it is a friend calling you Cherry-blossom, JR, or Dead-eye. But knowing these names ICly when you do not have a legit reason for knowing them, or being able to associate "Dead-eye" with "Melony" is meta-gaming.

Abusing the Meta-gaming Policy
Now, there are people who are going to abuse calling 'meta-game', we know this will happen, if you are reported for meta-gaming tell the GM you are discussing this with the information about the story. An example of this would be... "Melony" was giving off major hints of being a warlock; she wore dark clothes, talked highly of the dark-arts, always carried around books about Warlock-ery, and even always made sure to have her demon-skin spell up on her just in case of an attack. Well, Using all of these signs, most people would be able to tell she was a warlock, but when called out she called meta-gaming. The GM looked at the screen-shots and sent a message to the person accuse of calling her out, the screenshots that she had -presented- seemed to put the player at fault. When more detailed information on the event arose between the two conversing they realize, "Melony" was the one at fault. All cleared up with a chat to the GM.

Now are we going to be able to stop this all the time? Of course not, with new members coming and going this can and will be something that comes up every once in a while. But with people who -should- know better than that, this shouldn't be as big of a matter.

A few things to remember.

1) Prodding for information where a normal person wouldn't is indeed meta-gaming.
2) Using OOC information to make decisions on your character can ruin potential RP.
3) Knowing and using OOC information about people can ruin story-lines and be a pain to ruin it.
4) If you meta-game, it isn't just effecting you; it effects everyone involved, which could be an entire server.
5) If you witness a meta-gamer please send a whisper sending them what they are doing; if there is no logical reason why they know the information, replay the scene.
6) If the meta-gaming continues, please screen-shot it and send it to a GM with an explanation of what is happening. This can and will help stop this issue from arising.
Fallen angel wasn't a guild, It was just a self-proclaimed Tag my character gave herself, she is indeed in a legit guild. It would be nice if you asked people about it before assuming they are Meta-Gaming because of their FlagRSP tags.
I am uncertain of the details, but I think Warlocks are allowed in Orgrimmar? I remember reading that somewhere. Perhaps I am wrong.
Shademourne, I doubt she was accusing you of metagaming, just simply pointing out some of the guilds she's seen for an example.

And Einhander, yes they are, they're just not very looked up.

And Cressy, thank you.
I believe I am partly to blame for this. Earlier on, Gale was asking Sprinkles what was the 'smell' in the Ratchet Inn. I suppose I was pressing a bit too much for information there. Sorry about that.
On the guilds subject...

Some guilds are well-known by most folk, such as Lambent Sovereignty. I'm sure that you could easily recognize what guild they belonged to by their guild colors, depending on how much your character knows about current affairs.
Sadly, I've seen people tell what guild someone belongs to without them even wearing colors. A tabard is a show of open allegiance, a tag is something completely separate from IC interaction.
Meta-gaming is serious business in the Larp that I play. If you are caught, the consequences range from a scolding to actually being banned from ever playing again depending on the severity and how many times you get caught. That being said meta-gaming on ruins things for other players and breaks the number one rule around here, respect. Just my 2 copper.
Before you get on a meta-gaming witch hunt and drama ensues, try respectfully whispering the offending player first and assume good will on their part. A lot of times they may have a valid in character reason that you, as a third party, was not aware of. For example, this first time I met Raneth in character I called him by his name without introduction. Meta-gaming, right? Wrong. My character had been stalking him for three weeks and knew a good deal more about him than a character ordinarily would, all learned from other characters through in character role play. I've been accused of meta-gaming before by other players who simply did not know what my character knew, and it's very disrespectful. Sometimes simple one on one problem solving clears up the matter before feelings get hurt.
All around good guide to bring up I think. Hats off to you Cressy!
Thank you Cressy, I feel that Metagaming is becoming more of a serious problem as RP gets more intertwined with more characters and further advanced plots.

Personally, I dont think anyone is really doing it on purpose with some evil intentions, its just something that happens to get blurted out every now and then. So I guess if we can all learn about it and (kindly) remind one another when it happens, I think we will be fine.

I dont think we need to REALLY freak out over when and if it happens
Thank you for the clarification.
I have seen quite a bit of arguments pertaining to metagaming in the small time I've been here so far (fortunately, I have not been involved), and I would just like to say: just tell them politely that they are metagaming, ignore that mishap, and move on. Don't destroy a perfectly good RP just because of one misunderstanding!
If they continue, screenshot, report, and move on. Help the community!
Shademourne, I actually wasn't referring to you. Pre-wrath here on CoTH is was very common for people to have Guild-tags such as that. Plus, I do not think I have even role-played with any of your characters. /sage-nod

Purloinia, that is why sometimes whispering the people accusing you of meta-gaming is always the first step to clearing up the situation, but a majority of the time it isn't from someone stalking; it is from someone assuming that they know a persons name because of a game-mechanic.

To everyone, I really did not mean to stir anything up; I felt it was time that someone had said this and decided to do it myself. Yes, I did get quiet frustrated when I constantly got meta-gamed. Yes, I did ask most of the people OOCly about the situation, or I myself removed my character from the situation. Did I want to? No, I was having a hay-day RPing, but because certain people felt the need to badger, assume, or accuse things about my character, it ruined what was going on. I just didn't want to go as far as to get someone suspended or banned because they had -no idea- that they were really meta-gaming.

I apologize for over reacting then, My character has somewhat of an ego, so she gave herself the title, haven't been here that long so I wouldn't know sbout the pre-bc stuff. :)
Still, calling yourself a Fallen Angel would be rather odd ICly, considering that Angels are a christian concept. They still existed back in Warcraft 1 because 'The Holy Light' was just copy paste Christianity back then, but since then angels and 'god' have been retconned and they no longer exist. The closest you get now are spirit healers. The Naaru pretty much took the place of the angels as 'messengers'.
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